Back in 1984 when Transformers first came on the scene, there were only 3 categories of Autobots that you could buy. There was Optimus Prime, who was in a category all by himself (and rightfully so). There were the Minicars, such as Bumblebee. And then there were the Autobot Cars, a US localization of Japanese Diaclone figures. A scan of the Season 1 catalog below illustrates the 3 categories.
Of all the 1st Season Autobot Cars, Trailbreaker is the only one that has yet to have a proper update in the CHUG-verse. Sure they made a Legend class figure a while back, but that’s not a real update considering all the other characters had a deluxe class or larger CHUG figure made.
Earlier this year, Hasbro finally announced that they will be releasing a deluxe size Trailcutter. I’m guessing for trademark reasons, they could not get the name Trailbreaker. But whatever. I am totally stoked that Trailbreaker is finally getting the recognition he deserves! This means the Season 1 Cars will be complete in CHUG. Pics of this Trailcutter have been floating around for a while now, but I need to do my part and post them here.
But there is another reason why I’m so thrilled at Trailbreaker’s inclusion in CHUG. Back in G1, he was the very first Autobot Car that I owned. I still remember that trip to TRU. It was 1985. I was standing in the TF aisle and my parents were gonna buy me a TF car of my choosing. The Season 2 cars were already out by then (I remember distinctly seeing Red Alert), but Season 1 cars were still on the shelves. I looked at the section for a long time. In the end I decided on Trailbreaker.
I can’t explain why I picked Trailbreaker. If you were going by characters, it’s hard to pick Trailbreaker over one of the cooler characters, like Jazz or Sideswipe. Admittedly, I didn’t know the TF characters too well, since I barely knew any English. So my choice was not based on TF persona. Likewise, if you were going by alt mode (all TFs back then were packed in alt mode), it’s hard to imagine picking a SUV over a sports car. So it’s a mystery why I went with Trailbreaker. Maybe the toy just looked too cool in the box. I’m partial to TFs that I own. So for the next few years, I cheered every time Trailbreaker did something cool in the cartoons. Like using his Force Field so save the day when another Autobot has gotten them into some sorry Decepticon mess.
Since Trailbreaker and I have this special history, I’m kind of irked by the fact that Hasbro CHUG-updated all the other Season 1 cars except for him. It’s like I picked the character that got left out. But better late than never I always say. Trailbreaker has finally arrived at the party. And besides, the pics above look awesome! Maybe in this case, they were saving the best for last. Yes that must be it. I feel better that my character of choice received this proud distinction.
I still have my G1 Trailbreaker figure, from 1985. In this modern era of new Transformers, I only have 2 Trailcutters. And to give Trailbreaker the recognition he deserves, I’m taking group pics of all of them.
The largest figure in the pics is obviously G1. The middle size figure is a Cyberverse Commander class figure from TF Prime, the new Beast Hunters subline. And the smallest figure there is a Legends figure from Reveal the Shield. I will give some quick thoughts on each of these figures.
This figure needs no introduction. They sure don’t make TFs like this anymore. G1 figures, especially the first 2 seasons, were generally alt mode first and Trailbreaker is no exception. His alt mode still holds up well today. Trailbreaker is a fourth generatino Toyota HiLux and the toy resembles the real thing very closely. The diecast construction and real rubber tires were iconic of figures at the time. I had this figure since 1985 and even today he’s in pretty good shape. In alt mode he feels like one cohesive whole. He rolls extremely well on a flat surface, even when compared to other G1, because he’s got such high clearance like a real pick-up truck. In robot mode Trailbreaker looks somewhat different from his cartoon counterpart. Like many other Season 1 characters, the show made him look better than he really is. But the toy’s robot mode is still not too bad for it’s time. Much better than the robot mode of some other G1 cars, like Ironhide or Sunstreaker. Like all G1 the poseability is super limited. You can move the arms, but that’s it.
Reveal the Shield Legend
I bought this figure back in 2011. For a legends figure he’s not bad. The overall transformation schema of this piece is almost exactly like G1. The arms and back are formed differently, but those are the only obvious transformation differences. The amazing thing about this figure is that, though small, it doesn’t feel that much dumbed down from G1 when compared side by side. The transformation complexity is almost equal. I guess toy technology have made some significant progress in the last 25+ years. The alt mode is sufficient, and the robot mode is an obvious homage to G1. The look of the legs and the force field module on the head are both very G1 inspired.
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Cyberverse Commander
This figure was bought in March of this year, only two months from this writing. Normally I don’t buy Cyververse figs, but when I saw Trailcutter I had to get him, since I’m partial to the character. This figure is a slight remold of Cyberverse Ironhide. Hasbro made enough differences here to properly distinguish the two. Trailcutter gets a new head mold, shoulder cannons, spikes on the shoulders and arms, and a weapon. I applaud Hasbro for not simply giving us a unmodified repaint. This figure has the most articulation of the 3 TFs here. You can do some nice poses with this fig. There’s even articulation in the head, though there’s probably too much around the neck to really put that to use. He’s also the most difficult out of these 3 to transform, though that’s not really saying much. The colors are pure Trailcutter, and the shoulder cannons and head Force Field module are nice G1 homages.
I cannot wait to get this new CHUG Trailcutter. He’s finally getting some love! Transform and Roll Out!
Several years ago, my buddy Gemini got me a Roadbot for my birthday. For those that don’t know, Roadbots are a line of transforming robot toys that transform from robot to car/truck/motorcycle and back. Not affiliated with Hasbro or Takara in any way, the Roadbots are made by HappyWell, a company in China. The toys are often seen as third party cousins of Alternators or Binaltechs for several reasons. The alt mode of each Roadbot are all real vehicles, and in this form the toys are supposedly on par with official replicas. Roadbots come in several scales, from 1:32 to 1:12. Is “Roadbot” a wordplay on robot? Your guess is as good as mine.
Gemini got me the 1:18 scale Toyota Celica Tuner Version Roadbot. This is because I drive a Toyota Celica, pictured below.
I removed the license plate numbers with Photoshop for obvious reasons. I have had this car for over 12 years now. It’s got over 225k miles on it currently. Who knows how much longer my ride will last. But for now it’s still going strong and I plan to keep it for a while.
Anyway, here is the Celica Roadbot in its usual packaging. I ripped this pic from TFSource since I trashed the box as soon as I opened the figure all those years ago.
OK, now on to the Roadbot itself. Before this review, I transformed this guy only once, from robot to car when I first got it. He stayed this way all these years. So first let’s see some pics in alt mode.
This 1:18 scale Roadbot is a pretty large figure, but more on this later. As someone who looks at a real Celica everyday, the first thing I will comment on is the authenticity of the alt mode. In my opinion, the Roadbot captured the Celica pretty well. There’s no way you would mistake this alt mode as any other car. There are some areas of the vehicle where I think the scale is a little off, but that would just be nitpicking on my part.
As far as detail goes, what’s there is decent. This figure is at least 4 years old now, so it would be unfair to compare the details with those on the figures of today. Keep in mind that this is a transforming toy made by a third party, so overall it sort of still has a “toy” look. The overall paint job is great. In fact, the paint is probably better than most TFs. This piece is mostly a glossy metallic blue with silver pieces here and there. Headlights and taillights are made of separate clear plastic pieces that adds to the realism of the vehicle. The rims are a nice chrome silver. Front windshield is made of clear plastic. I also like how there’s a Toyota emblem painted on in the front grill area. Though I wish they used a different color, the black is kinda hard to see. The side mirrors are painted a dull grey. I kinda wish they used a more reflective color, or at least use reflective stickers. The rear license plate just has the Toyota emblem with the words “TOYOTA” below it. This is a sticker. The words “CELICA” are engraved into the mold right above it, which is pretty cool because I see that on my car too. I’m not sure if HappyWell got official license from Toyota or any other makes to do the Roadbots.
Construction of the piece is extremely solid. In alt mode, this guy can withstand some heavy treatment. The Roadbot is a lot more durable than your average TFs. You don’t have to worry about damaging the toy from rough play. Like all Binaltechs and Alternators, the tires are made of rubber. As far as I can tell, this piece is all plastic, no diecast.
Now for some features of the Roadbot in alt mode. Notice on the box, it says “With Lights & Sound”. In alt mode, press a button on the hood where the intake is, and the Roadbot will start flashing the front headlights in orange and make some laser sounds. It’s a cool gimmick that the kids will enjoy. Another cool feature that I didn’t take a pic of is connected front wheel steering. Most Binaltech and Alternator figures have this, and this Roadbot is no exception. Doors of the vehicle can be opened, like in the pic below.
The interior details are not half bad. Again, I’m in my car everyday so I can attest to the accuracy of the interior. The look of the dashboard, center console, and steering wheel are all reproduced faithfully. Even the look of the seats are well captured. It is obvious that the toy designers of this piece looked at a real Celica before they started design of the figure.
Here is a pic of the bottom of the Roadbot. The giant sword (which I will go into in robot mode) covers up most of the bottom of the car. I wish my Celica had a giant sword underneath it. And that it can stick out the rear bottom of my car at the push of a button to scare off pesky tailgaters.
Here are some size comparison shots. As you can see, this Roadbot is a large figure like I mentioned already. He looks big next to Alternator Ravage. And next to Generations Sideswipe, he’s just freakin’ huge!
OK, now to transform this guy to robot mode. I transformed the Roadbot to car within hours of getting the gift all those years ago, and he stayed like that the whole time. I’m too lazy to dig out the instructions, and I have practically no recollection of how to transform him. So here I’m transforming him back to robot mode for the first time, and I’m doing it purely based on pics.
After checking some other online pics and YouTube reviews, I’m fairly certain this is how the robot looks. He’s not half bad. Obviously I like the big kick ass sword that he’s holding. In fact, to get him to stand up straight without falling backwards, he must be holding that sword (but more on this later). The engine/intake piece that makes the flashing lights and sounds becomes the sword handle unit, the the large sword that was underneath the car forms the blade. So when you press the button for lights and sounds in this mode, the sword flashes and it’s really cool.
Articulation of this guy is not too good, even comparing him to other figures of his time. You get some decent articulation in the arms and legs, and the head rotates 180 degrees. But that’s about it. Even from the front, you can see there’s quite a bit of kibble all around. So what little articulation there is to begin with is hindered by all the stuff around him. This allows for a very limited set of poses. You will notice in all these pics he’s kinda posed the same, like a G1 figure. There’s just not a whole lot of poses you can do here.
The above pic is a closer shot of the Roadbot in robot mode. I like the details on this guy. I’m digging the head mold. The shape of the helmet kinda reminds of a samurai. Couple that with the giant sword, he’s got a samurai motif going. I like how the hood piece looks as his chest plate. The colors of blue and silver really work on this figure. There are some features on both forearms that I should point out. One the right forearm, there are retractable cannons that are hidden in alt mode. And on the left forearm, there are scissor-like claws. The two pieces of the claws rotate in sync with each other when they go forwards and backwards. Overall, I like how this guy looks.
The above pic shows one of the real weaknesses of this figure: the back. There’s way too much kibble on the back! It is especially bad in the back of the legs, where you see the front car frame just hanging around. The rear hatch of the vehicle kinda just sits on the back. This figure is really back heavy, and that’s part of the reason for the limited poses. Also, this is why he must be holding that giant sword, because that offsets the heavy weight of the back. The moment you take the sword off, he will most likely fall backwards.
Another major weakness of the figure is that this is too much of a puzzle-former in my opinion. Check out the pic below. These are all pieces that must be removed for transformation. The engine/intake and sword pieces I already talked about. The hood piece is removed and re-attached to form the chest, not transformed. The side-skirts must also be removed, because they go on opposite sides of the door between alt mode and robot mode. Also, the doors come off real easy during transformation, so if you count that then he’s even more of a puzzle-former.
Now for some size comparison shots in robot mode. He’s a big figure. Even next to MP Grimlock, he’s taller. He towers over all deluxe figures. I only have FOC Ultra Magnus handy so here they are together.
To sum up, I think this Roadbot has a pretty good alt mode, but the robot mode leaves a little to be desired.
- Accurate rendition of the Toyota Celica
- Nice detail and paint apps
- Cool flashing lights and sounds gimmick
- Rubber tires
- Large figure
- Solid construction
- Good value – I think MSRP was around $20
- Too much kibble and very back heavy
- Too much puzzle-forming
- Limited articulation and poses
So do I recommend the figure? I think if you like Binaltech and Alternator TFs, then give this guy a try. If you like Toyota Celicas and are curious about transforming toys, then go ahead and check this guy out. But if you are expecting top notch quality figures, like the recent MPs, then this figure is not for you. Oh yeah, if you like Michael Bay TFs, this figure is not for you.
Being both a Celica owner and a hardcore TransFan, this was the perfect b-day gift for me. I regret not buying any Roadbots for myself, since I am curious about the others. Maybe I’ll get them on eBay someday.
Roadbots… Transform and Roll Out!
There are plenty of third party accessories out there that are designed to enhance Hasbro and Takara products. I haven’t had the opportunity to buy too many of these (something I’m looking to rectify), but one of the few that I did get is the Blood the Dark Warrior Upgrade Kit by Headrobots. This kit obviously is designed to work with ROTF Voyager Bludgeon (a very nice figure BTW). I bought the kit back in October of 2011, and to this day I still have not tried it with Bludgeon. Anyway, here’s how the kit looks in the package.
About a year after that purchase, I got Generations GDO Megatron. This is a repaint of that Bludgeon mold, but with a new head for Megatron. This figure is obviously a homage to G2 Megatron. Here are some pics of this Megatron in the box.
Anyway, I opened this figure pretty soon after I got it. And out of the box my first complaint is the rubbery look of those purple swords. That did not work for me at all. A badass like Megatron cannot be holding swords that look like they were made out of play dough. See the pic for yourself.
And so I remembered I still have the Bludgeon upgrade kit that I never tried. I’m gonna try it on Megatron since I have him handy.
Much better! There seems to be several figures that interpret Megatron as a samurai, like this figure and the Alternity Megatron. Having silver swords that aren’t bent goes a long way to help Megatron look like the kickass dictator that he is.
Now let’s see how this would look in alt mode.
In both pics above, we only see the gun piece attached at the end of the cannon. The long sword is hidden inside the barrel, with the gun piece fitted over the sword handle. The short sword is completely concealed inside the turret where it usually goes. The pic below help illustrates this.
The pic below shows that you can attach the gun piece to the side of the mini purple gun on the turret. This is where you would place the gun piece in robot mode, which ends up being on Megatron’s back.
All in all, I think using this upgrade kit for Megatron is quite cool. The green doesn’t match, but the way it sticks out doesn’t seem so bad. Having straight shiny silver swords is way better than the purple crap that Hasbro saw fit to use.
Transform and Roll Out!
Masterpiece Red Alert (MP-14) arrived this week. This is the first Masterpiece figure to arrive for me in 2013. I bought the fig very late in 2012, and I used SAL unregistered shipping so Red Alert did not show up til a few days ago. It was worth the wait though. Red Alert was only about $58 shipped and he arrived just fine. Some people complain that the shipping box gets dinged with SAL unregistered, but in this case I got the shipping box in pristine condition. Anyway, I got him in hand now and he’s every bit as impressive as MP Sideswipe. I have mentioned how impressed I am with Sideswipe here and here, and mechanically Red Alert is exactly the same so this will just be a quick review. I’ll let the pics do the talking and point out where I see mold and feature differences.
For the alt mode, the obvious differences from MP Sideswipe are the colors and paint apps. I won’t describe it too much, just refer to the pics. The big obvious mold difference is the emergency lights on top of the vehicle. These lights are added on as an extra accessory. They plug into the top, like you would the weapons for this figure. The middle section of the lights are also hollowed out, so you can plug the weapon on top of them if you wish. See the above pic.
Above are some shots of MP Red Alert with MP Optimus (The TRU exclusive, same mold as the MP-10). As you can see these scale real well. Red Alert fits inside the trailer just fine.
The robot is really similar to Sideswipe as well. The first mold difference is in the shoulders. Notice the wheels on the shoulders. The front wheels are still embedded inside the chest, the wheels on the shoulders are purely decorative. They did this to be show accurate, since in the G1 cartoons that’s how he was drawn. Very cool. The other mold difference is in the head. Red Alert has a shorter antenna than Sideswipe. There are the only mold differences I detect. All other differences are in the colors. For Red Alert, I really like the purple pieces on the legs. I don’t know if this is done to be show accurate, but it does add that little extra something to the appearance of the figure.
Here’s a gimmick for this figure. Red Alert comes with these clear blue plastic pieces that you can fit over his head, so he looks like he’s detecting danger about to happen. We see him do this in the G1 cartoons. Pretty cool. That’s the only gimmick pieces for this figure. Total number of accessories for Red Alert is the same as Sideswipe. Sideswipe has the 2 pile drivers, and Red Alert has the emergency lights and the danger/caution head piece. Gun and missile launcher appears to be the exact same mold as Sideswipe’s, just different color.
There you have it. Another cool MP from Takara. I suggest buying Red Alert even if you already have Sideswipe. Yeah he’s just a repaint and the extra gimmicks aren’t groundbreaking by any means, but this is such a cool mold that it’s a sin to not have. My feeling is, if you already bought Sideswipe, you’ve probably already bought Red Alert anyway, or is going to.
On a separate note, I finally got around to updating my TF List. It’s been long overdue. My many recent purchases are all included.
Now I’m really looking forward to MP Soundwave. I didn’t pre-order on him yet, but I pre-ordered the cassettes (both MP-15 and MP-16). I wonder if there will be US version of MP Soundwave?
Transform and Roll Out!
Legend class figures are some of the smallest figures that Hasbro makes. Sometimes they’re called Legion figures. Since they’re so small, I put them all in one box, regardless of which series they came from. This way it’s easy for me to find them. They are all super easy to transform. I usually don’t buy them, but they can be a fun distraction every now and then. So I was kind of surprised when I took them all out and see that I have this many. Guess they add up like everything else.
From left to right:
Back row: Vehicon, Motorbreath, Thundercracker, Megatron
Middle row: Dualor, Warpath, Trailcutter, Gold Bumblebee, Beachcomber, Prowl
Front row: Wheelie, Optimus Prime, Hoist, Bumblebee, Brawn, Bluestreak
Some random thoughts in bullet points:
- I recommend all of these, except Vehicon and Dualor. Deluxe Vehicon is way better, both FE and RID. Dualor is just a waste of space.
- As of this writing, 4 of these are readily available: Thundercracker, Motorbreath, Hoist, and Bluestreak. Get to your Toys R Us store if you want them.
- For a lot of these figs, I’ve only seen them once. They include: Optimus Prime, Wheelie, yellow Bumblebee, Brawn, Beachcomber, Warpath, and Dualor. It’s safe to say they’re rare.
- The only one I would say is not that rare is Gold Bumblebee, though I think I’ve only seen him like 3 or 4 times.
- As a G1 purist, I would say the must gets are Wheelie, both Bumblebees, Brawn, Warpath, and Beachcomber. Their small size accurately reflects how they were in G1. Though it’s worth noting that Warpath and Bumblebee have more impressive Deluxe versions too.
- For the time being, I would also get Trailcutter and Hoist, just because these are the only way to get CHUG representations of the characters. I’m still holding out hope that Hasbro will give us Deluxe versions of these guys. Then the Autobot cars from the first 2 seasons would be CHUG complete in Deluxe or larger (sans Skids, but I don’t care much for Skids).
- Prime, Megs, Thundercracker, Prowl, and Bluestreak are all good figs. But their larger counterparts in CHUG are way better. And as Legend they make no sense scale wise. So only get them if you’re hardcore or a completest.
- Conspicuously missing is Cosmos. He’s super rare.
Legend figures… Transform and Roll Out.
I’m procrastinating way too much, but today I’m finally getting to the robot mode review of Masterpiece Sideswipe. The alt mode review appears here. But before I go any further, let me just say this now: I am impressed with MP Sideswipe! IMPRESSED! Just go out and get one now. Don’t even waste time reading the rest of this review. But if you like to know why I like this figure so much, I will explain why.
First things first though. There are some things I need to re-state or correct from the alt mode review, so let me do them now. First, I mentioned that the tires are made of rubber, but they are actually high quality plastic. The paint job on them is so good though, and something about the material of that plastic makes them feel like rubber if you are not paying careful attention. I would’ve liked to see them use real rubber, but this works too.
Another thing I mentioned in the alt mode review is that there are other pieces besides the tires that will rub the surface. After transforming Sideswipe to robot mode and back, I find this to be less of an issue. You will still need to line up everything just right, but it’s not too tough to position everything so there’s enough bottom clearance.
The last thing I want to point out about the alt mode is you can attach the missile launcher on the car if you want. The gun can then be attached to the side of the launcher. Sideswipe is now ready for some serious drive-by. I think he looks better in alt mode without it, but it’s nice to see the toy designers account for the weapons. There is a swivel joint mechanism for the missile launcher attachment, so you can angle the whole thing up or down if you wanted to.
OK, now on to the robot mode. Check out Sideswipe in all his G1 robot glory.
Now is that Sideswipe or is that Sideswipe? This is the ultimate interpretation of G1 Sideswipe. Masterpiece figures are known for detail and show accuracy and this figure certainly does not disappoint. The designers of this figure must have looked at G1 cartoon screenshots over and over, and came up with a figure that captures Sideswipe’s look down to the last detail. They say life imitates art and vice versa. In this case, it’s toy imitating cartoon imitating toy. G1 Sideswipe’s cartoon appearance, though based on the G1 figure, is way more enhanced than what the toy was really capable of. Masterpiece toy designers have made that interpretation a reality.
Detail on this figure is nothing short of amazing. Take a look at Sideswipe’s face. That is pure G1. I thought the face mold on the Generations figure was good, but this blows it out of the water. This has got to be one of the most show accurate face molds I have ever seen, on any TF. Paint job on the face is also a nice silver, good to see that Takara wasn’t afraid to splurge for this figure. The chest is your typical Sideswipe car hood. That is probably the most iconic thing about Sideswipe’s robot mode, so they be crazy if they changed it.
I really like the look of Sideswipe’s limbs. Again, it’s as if the toy designers reproduced his cartoon appearance exactly. I won’t describe it too much. Just look at the pics. Same goes for the lower abdomen and hips area. I’m amazed at how faithfully they can get Sideswipe to look while the figure still transforms.
Speaking of transformation, the overall transforming schema is fairly similar to G1 (hood becomes chest, rear of car form the legs, arms at the sides, etc). But they made some heavy improvements to how everything is implemented. Hood of the car still folds down to form the chest (no surprise here). But the top of the head folds back in alt mode, like it’s sliced off. This allows for more room to store the head, since the alt mode is so flat. The arms are still tucked to the sides of the car, like G1. But they are angled more inwards, and the door pieces don’t account for as much of the robot mode, resulting in less kibble for the arms. The biggest transformation difference from G1 is probably in the legs. In G1 you simply pull them out. For the MP, the mechanism is much more complex. In fact, in the instructions, most of it devotes to how the legs are transformed. MP Sideswipe’s legs use more of a rotate-at-the-knees mechanism that we’ve seen used heavily in G1, like G1 Windcharger or Gears. However there are other pieces at the legs that needs to be transformed as well, resulting in a refreshing take on a familiar scheme.
Overall, this transformation is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. MP figures usually don’t disappoint in terms of the transforming mechanism. However, often times, the transformation is complex to the point where it takes the fun out of playing it as a toy (think MP Megatron or MP Rodimus). Sideswipe do not share that problem. The transformation of this figure is challenging enough to be worthy of MP, but at the same time still fun when played with as a toy. In my opinion, Takara has achieved the perfect balance of transformation complexity and fun in MP Sideswipe. This is very rarely done in the world of TFs. And let’s not forget, this is a figure that looks good in both modes. Usually figures that look this good does not transform. So when you consider a transforming mechanism that is ingenious yet intuitive, coupled with a alt mode that Lamborghini felt confident in branding its logo, and with a super show accurate robot mode added in for good measure, you realize what a gem you have on your hands.
Poseability of the figure also does not disappoint. He’s got moving joints just about everywhere: head/neck, shoulder, elbows, hips, knees, feet, and hands. He’s capable of some really good poses. And for once, I like how the hands are implemented on MP. Usually for MP, they try to make articulation down to the fingers. I know there are fans out there that enjoy that feature, but I’m not one of them. Usually too much finger articulation translates to poor holding of weapons by the figure, so I’m glad Takara chose a simpler mechanism here. The non-thumb fingers will move as one piece, but that’s about it. In my opinion, that’s enough.
Articulation would mean nothing without proper construction. I’m glad to report that MP Sideswipe has no construction issues whatsoever. All joints will move like you expect them to, nothing too tight and nothing too loose. In alt mode everything comes together nicely, and in robot mode he’s able to hold poses without problems of any kind. I wish all TFs were this well built.
Here’s a shot of the back of Sideswipe. As you can see, he’s really kibble free. Some might argue there’s a bit of kibble on the back, but in my opinion this is nothing to complain about.
Now for some extra gimmicks on this figure. He comes with pile drivers that you can attach in robot mode. Just flip the hands back into the forearms and attach them. We saw him do this in one episode. Very show accurate, though why someone like Sideswipe would have pile drivers is beyond me. Also, the missile launcher can be attached on either the right or left shoulder. I stuck it on the left since that’s how he had them on the show. In robot mode the missile launcher can be angled up or down, just like alt mode.
Here are some size comparison shots. Sideswipe scales well with the newer MPs. I also placed them next to some CHUG figures, so those of you who only has CHUG can see how he compares.
Sideswipe: Hey Grimlock, I got the MP treatment just like you did.
Grimlock: Me Grimlock still look better!
MP Sideswipe is good value. I got mine for about $75 shipped from Japan. That’s actually quite reasonable these days for a figure of this quality. Also, MP Sideswipe is not a figure that will take up a lot of space on your shelf. In the alt mode review I mentioned he comes in a really small box, a good thing in my opinion. When MPs started getting smaller, I was complaining like everyone else. But now I’m beginning to see the value. It keeps the cost of the figure down, and if you have a large collection like me, the smaller size benefits in being a space saver.
To sum up, this is a figure that must be purchased. If you call yourself a TransFan, then do not hesitate to add this piece to your collection. It is rare to come across a TF of such high quality. I seriously detect no weaknesses in this figure. Hands down, this is my favorite new figure for 2012. I know there’s still about a month and a half left of the year, but right now I can’t imagine anything topping this. Takara has really outdone themselves. MP Sideswipe is TF perfection.
Now I must go pre-order MP Red Alert somewhere. Transform and Roll Out!
This past summer, rumors began to surface of the next wave of Masterpiece Transformers that Takara will produce. I’m always excited to hear of new MPs, and the characters that Takara chose to do this time certainly did not disappoint. I don’t remember who came first, but it was announced that they will do Sideswipe, Red Alert, and Soundwave. Actually, I’m guessing Sideswipe must have came first since that’s the only one I pre-ordered.
On Thursday when I got home, I see a mail pickup slip left at the front door. Lo and behold, it was for MP Sideswipe! I didn’t have time to go pick it up til Saturday. And today, here are some pics of the box and his alt mode.
I did not know that Takara obtained rights from Lamborghini to make this figure. Bravo! The Lambo logo is shown proudly on the front of the package. It was too bad that they could not secure Lambo rights when they did Binaltechs and Alternators, but I’m happy they worked out something now.
Also from the back of the box, it’s clear that this figure is made to scale with the new MPs, like MP-10 Optimus Prime. Looks like the alt mode will go into the Prime trailer just fine, and in bot mode he comes up to about Prime’s lower abdomen. Very cool. I still have not opened MP-10 (don’t even know what the heck I’m waiting for), but after I transform Sideswipe, that will be my next priority.
This has got to be the smallest box ever produced for a MP! Actually, I think that’s a good thing, since space is always an issue when you got as many TFs as I do. Anyway, check it out next to RTS Jazz.
Sideswipe comes in clear plastic like all MPs. Pic below shows him in the package.
I wasted no time taking this guy out. This is pure G1 Sideswipe! If there are any hardcore G1-ers out there that actually have complaints about Sideswipe not appearing G1 enough, they need to be shot. Check out some pics below.
Paint job on this figure is superb. I don’t detect any die-cast pieces, which is a shame. But the paint job is so good that some pieces look die cast. He is mostly in his iconic red. On the hood, the Autobot emblem is painted on. It’s rare to see such a large faction emblem painted on any TF, but in this case it works and it looks great. And right below the Autobot symbol, there is the Lamborghini badge. Very cool. Headlights are made of clear plastic.
At the rear of the vehicle, the taillights are all painted. There are also the words “Lamborghini Countach” written in what I’m assuming is the official Lamborghini font for this vehicle. Windows appear to be clear black plastic. Side mirrors are painted black as well. On my figure I don’t detect any paint splatters for goofs.
Like all other MPs, the tires area made of rubber. I wish they would make the tires of all TF figures out of rubber, but that’s probably too much to ask for.
Functionally, in alt mode, the figure feels like one cohesive unit. I don’t detect any dangling pieces, or parts that easily come apart from anything else. Sideswipe is robust and solid to say the least.
Below is a pic of the MP next to Generations Sideswipe.
The MP is slightly bigger. Initially, I was worried that this MP would be deluxe size. But now that I see he’s bigger, I feel slightly more justified in paying what I did (about $75, shipped from Japan).
Now I do have one small complaint. This seems to be the trend with many of the new premium car Transformers, and it’s that there’s too much stuff underneath the vehicle. Place Sideswipe on a flat surface, and the large black pieces near the rear will make contact with the surface. In my opinion, the tires should be the only thing touching the ground, but for this figure it’s simply not so. Masterpiece Rodimus has this problem, many of the Human Alliance figures has this problem, and MP Sideswipe also shares this problem. Here’s a pic of the bottom of the figure in alt mode.
I have not transformed this figure at all. Let’s see if this problem will go away when I transform him back from robot mode. But even so, don’t let this small gripe distract you from buying the figure if you’re eyeing one. He’s got way too many positives to warrant a purchase.
I’m gonna transform him real soon. Look for a follow up review on his robot mode. Transform and Roll Out!
Click here for review of the robot mode.
When people mention Transformers, my first thought always go to G1 and its derivatives (CHUG, MP, Binaltechs). Very often, it actually takes a sec or two for me to realize they mean Transformers of the Michael Bay variety. Movie TFs will forever be secondary priority for me, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good figures from this line. In fact, one of my favorite figs from the past few years in any TF line is ROTF voyager Mindwipe. I don’t think Mindwipe made an appearance in the movies, but he’s an excellent figure that every TransFan should pick up. He’s a good update of the G1 Headmaster character for the modern era. The fact that he transforms into a stealth bomber is very fitting, and his color scheme certainly doesn’t disappoint those of us that can still recall the G1 character.
Some months ago, I stumbled upon a listing on Amazon for this G2 Dreadwind & Smokescreen Set. I’m aware of the Strafe repaint, but I did not know about this one. Anyway, at first glance this blue repaint didn’t seem all that cool. But upon closer inspection, I see that there’s a drone sitting on top of Dreadwind. Looking even closer, I see that the drone is actually a repaint of Sunspot! I bought Sunspot when I went to BotCon 2011. Sunspot is not a bad figure. But I had no idea that these 2 figures can be combined like that. I’m not sure if Hasbro advertised this feature anywhere.
So then I did come quick Googling and found that there was a Scout figure called Skystalker that was released at the time Mindwipe was released. I have seen Skystalker in the stores, but back then I paid little to no attention to Scout figures. Which is shame because Skystalker is now worth big bucks. Skystalker’s color scheme is designed to match well with that of Mindwipe’s, and the two combined looks pretty awesome. Lots of fans apparently knew about this combination gimmick. I guess I missed out for not paying attention.
I mentioned in my last post that I bought a bunch of GDO figures, including Laserbeak. Laserbeak is a repaint of Skystalker/Sunspot. Laserbeak arrived this week, so I thought it’s time to dig out Mindwipe and try this combo for myself. But first let’s see how this looks with Sunspot.
I got mixed feelings about this particular combo. I kinda like the black and white contrast, but it does look weird. Still, I now verified first hand that this can be done. Now I’m wondering if there are other figures out there meant to do this sort of thing.
But now let’s see how it looks with Laserbeak.
Much better in my opinion. The black on the 2 figures match real well. The red on Laserbeak is also a good match for Mindwipe’s cockpit. All in all I like this look quite a bit.
If you’re wondering how this is done, take a look at the pic below. There are pegs on the bottom of Laserbeak that are designed to go into holes on the top of Mindwipe.
I guess the Laserbeak mold is designed to perch on Mindwipe’s shoulder in robot mode, but I think it looks kinda goofy.
Below is a proposed Mindwipe and Laserbeak combination in robot mode. Some fan came up with this, I can’t take credit. The result is pretty cool, though it looks quite freaky too. Like some kind of Gerwalk/Alien thing. Definitely resembles something Michael Bay could cook up.
That’s all for now. Lots more TFs to come! Transform and Roll Out!
Several weeks ago I went into a post about all my Team Prime figures in the Robots in Disguise (RID) line. Today I’m featuring the same Autobot figures, but in the First Edition (FE) line.
Let me point out real quick right now that Ratchet is not FE. This is the RID version. I don’t think there is a FE Ratchet. I just put him here to be complete. It would not be Team Prime without Ratchet.
I’m going to give some quick thoughts below on each figure between the 2 lines.
Optimus Prime: I definitely prefer the FE version. I think the FE figures looks better in both robot and alt modes. Color wise, I think the FE also looks a little more show accurate. The weapons of the FE figure also looks cooler. The silly mech-tech weapon of the RID just don’t make sense to me. However, I can’t really say which transformation is more show accurate. On the FE figure, the chest plates do not form the cab windshield, which in my opinion is kind of a letdown. From a mechanical engineering perspective, they are both pretty good, but the FE wins out by just a little. There are some little paint touch-ups that I like better on the RID figure, such as the silver around the chest, and how the headlights are colored yellow. But the final verdict is that the FE is the superior figure. Unfortunately the FE is not available in mass retail in the United States, so online dealers are your only bet. I got mine for fifty some dollars, and I’ve seen online dealers ask for more than 100. If that price turns you off, then by all means pick up the RID. It’s not as good as the FE, but still a very good figure.
Bulkhead: Again, this is a figure where I strongly recommend the FE over the RID. In alt mode, I think both figures are pretty good, and I just be nitpicking if I recommended one over the other. However, in robot mode is where the FE really shines. It’s not that the RID is bad, it’s just that the FE is oh so impressive. He’s well articulated and all parts lock into place well where they should. Take a careful look around the chest and shoulder area of both figures, and right away it will be apparent that the FE is a lot more show accurate. Many fans also complain about the wings on the RID version, that they shouldn’t be there. Mechanical engineering on the FE is a great feat in TF design, a lot more so than the RID. And the mech-tech weapon on the RID is just a huge conglomeration of crap that I won’t even bother writing about. But just like FE Optimus, FE Bulkhead is not available in the US. Hasbro loves to stick it to us. I got mine FE from eBay for about $70. Definitely buy the RID figure, because it’s only $20 and it’s very good. But if you’re after true Bulkhead greatness, you will need to get the FE.
Arcee: For these shots, I used the FE pink version since that’s the only one I have opened. I also have the blue FE version, but that one is still sealed in the package. Comparing between the FE and the RID, I think they both have their pros and cons. The FE has a more impressive design, but the RID is better built. I also like the paint apps on the RID figure a little better. FE comes with two blades, while RID comes with one blade and a gun. Transformation is probably a little more accurate on the FE. I think these are both very good figures. I would just buy them both.
Bumblebee: Hasbro has been making way too many Bumblebees that I don’t even feel like comparing the two. A lot of fans bash the RID figure, which in my opinion isn’t that bad. I think the RID figure is very playable, a lot more so than the FE figure. I think of all the TF Prime figures that I bought, I find Bumblebee to be the least impressive (both FE and RID). It’s not that either one of them is bad, it’s just that these figures really don’t offer anything new when compared to the movie Bumblebee figures. Mechanically they feel very similar. Most fans would probably say that the FE figure is better. I guess I’m so sick of Bumblebee that I’m not even interested enough to agree or disagree with that assertion.
Ratchet: Same figure. RID Only. I’ve said before that I think this is the best Ratchet figure I own. That should be your hint to go out and get one now.
There you have it. My thoughts on each Team Prime figure in each toy line. Overall, they’re all really good. Hardcore TransFans would probably get both versions anyway. For the more casual fans, find the FEs if you can, especially Optimus and Bulkhead. But what’s in the stores is very good too, and is a good substitute if you don’t feel justified in spending more than $20 for a TF.
Team Prime… Transform and Roll Out!
Back in August of 2011, I reviewed the Kre-O Starscream set in jet mode. Now I’m gonna review the robot mode, 9 months later. As I mentioned in the jet mode review, Kre-O figures do not transform, which is a shame. In December of last year, I took apart the jet mode and built the robot mode. Here we go with the review.
Starscream looks quite nice in robot mode. I like the level of detail. His appearance in this mode is obviously G1 inspired, with the intake on the shoulders, the cockpit down the chest, and the wings on the back. The overall shade of grey with red and blue touches here and there is also very G1. And if you still need further evidence of his G1 roots, just check out the head. With the exception of Masterpiece and CHUG Starscreams, the Kre-O has the most G1-looking head of all the Starscreams made. I like the weapons on each arm. They don’t really resemble his G1 null rays, but they got a charm of their own. On his right arm there appear to be twin machine guns, and on the left arm there are a cluster of 4 missiles. Don’t mess with Screamer!
The robot mode uses a lot less pieces than the jet mode. I’m just estimating here, but I would say there are around 30 unused pieces in robot mode.
Starscream in robot mode is quite poseable. He’s got joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and neck. With the exception of the elbows and knees, all joints I listed are on ball joints. For a building block toy, the level of poseability is impressive. Check out some pics below.
Here are some pics of the back. The wings can be moved forward and back. The thrusters on the upper back can also be raised and lowered.
Here is a shot for size comparison. As you can see, the Kre-O figure is pretty large.
For the robot mode, I do have a gripe about the joints. Like I mentioned already, I had this in robot mode since December. At first the joints felt really tight, and the figure can hold poses well. I didn’t play with him all that much between now and then, just had him posed on the shelf this whole time. Now the hip joints feels quite loose. Kre-O Starscream does weigh a little more than your average TF, and over time it does feel like the joints won’t support the weight. If you decide to build the robot mode, I would recommend that you don’t have him posed in robot mode for too long. I’m going to take this apart soon and store it in the box. Maybe in the future when I build the robot again, the joints would be ok. But this is not something I can confirm at this time.
Also, the quality of the head piece feels poor. I mentioned how I like that it’s G1, but the detail on the face looks pretty bad. The helmet portion also looks like it could be sharper. I know it’s hard to see from my pics, but believe me that the head could look better. This is nowhere near the quality of Masterpiece head molds, which is about the same size for Starscream. Perhaps a customizer can swap a Masterpiece head onto the Kre-O.
Between the robot mode and jet mode, I definitely like the jet mode better. Overall it feels more solid, and uses more pieces. The robot mode’s not bad, but if I can only pick one I would build the jet mode.
The Kre-O Starscream set can be found fairly cheap now at many places. I’ve seen it for about $20 at Walmart. My friend Gemini said he found his for $10. At these prices I would definitely recommend the set if you like building block toys. It doesn’t transform, but you got two modes to build, and all pieces are fully compatible with other building block toys out there, like Legos and Megabloks. I’m hoping in the future, Hasbro will come out with Kre-Os that can really transform. Perhaps I will design a Starscream figure that can transform, using these Kre-O pieces with Legos. That sounds like a fun project. I might try that when I have some time. Transform and Roll Out!